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e-Portfolios: What institutions really need to know

March 30th, 2007 · 1 Comment · Eduspaces

The JISC e-portfolio event I attended earlier this week and ran an Elgg workshop helped clarify for me a number of issues about e-portfolios, particularly what they are (process and/or product), what they are for (several options here) and how we could implement them for our staff and students. A useful JISC publication on this is the briefing paper e-Portfolios: What institutions really need to know March 2006. The paper foresees:

” …an important shift in the ownership of e-portfolios from individual institutions to the learners themselves. It anticipates a new generation of technology where an e-portfolio for lifelong learning will no longer be an institution-provided package or system. It will be a learner owned application, independent of any individual institution, interacting with services accessed over the web”.

The paper also distinguishes process from product.

Image taken from page 1 of the JISC briefing paper - table of different approaches to e-portfolios

The distinction between e-portfolios as a learning development tool and as a presentation tool came through pretty clearly in the discussions at the event. Less apparent was the notion that an e-portfolio could be a set of interacting web services, or perhaps partly an aggregator of such services, or the wider range of possible ‘audiences’ for different compiled presentations. There was general recognition that whatever an e-portfolio is ideally it should be adaptable to transitions in career and personal development and should be transportable. This could mean the ability to export and import to other systems (or instances of the same system) or it being located outside any particular insitutional setting.

The latest version of Elgg with its enhanced social networking and personalisation capabilities and the Presentations tool would seem to make it an ideal platform for exploring the potential of e-portfolios as defined above. It adds the social networking/community elements that are missing from the dedicated e-portfolio products I have seen so far. It would be interesting to set up a project with staff and students from a variety of different subject areas in the my University (perhaps across a number of institutions) using the latest Elgg to develop this approach to e-portfolios and explore its reception by staff and students and various possible ‘target audiences’. I’m sure there is tremendous potential.

It emerged at the event that none of the participants had e-portfolios themselves! It will be hard to convince colleagues and students that this is a good idea if we don’t feel that it is useful for us too. I consoled myself with the thought that at least I potentially have an e-portfolio of sorts if I exploit my blog here with the new presentation tool. I would have to be much more disciplined in how I used it though.


One Comment so far ↓

  • Terry

    1. Terry,

    You may find my site to be of interest. It’s called LifeWork Planning Services (LWPS). It uses the Elgg engine. It’s infrastrucutre is only 20% done, so consider it pre-beta. This post describes LWPS’s purpose and value. In that post click on “individual” to see how an indivdual can use LWPS just as a simple collection of a few blog posts, or expand it to be either a PIMS, PKMS or a PLE. In the PIMS post I suggest the creation of what I call their LifeWork Portal (an aggregator of an individual’s ePortfolio-type posts) and in item 3 I link to a simple version of an LWP and then my more detailed version.


    Pete Hubbard on Friday, 30 March 2007, 20:40 UTC

    2. Thanks for posting these links Terry. I think we are slowly seeing thinking coming around to what we have been saying and working on for 3 years! The presentation tool is a huge bit of the puzzle but it doesn’t end there. The next bit is to break down the silos of activity – watch out for developments later this month.
    Dave Tosh on Monday, 02 April 2007, 19:08 UTC

    3. I think there is a growing buzz growing around Elgg Dave. You are in a better position to know but it feels as if things have developed to a point where the project is sustainable and will continue to gain momentum.

    Thnkas for the information Peter. I’ll have a good look at this when I have finsished my marking!
    Terry Wassall on Monday, 02 April 2007, 19:17 UTC

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